CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte organizations continue to try to prevent violence on the streets—particularly gun violence.
Law enforcement, families impacted by street violence, and gun prevention groups spent hours seeking solutions.
The conversations at Camp North End were open and sincere.
“My question is when it's not time to vote, how can you make yourselves more available to the community, to the schools, to the single-family homes that are in these communities," one audience member asked panelists that included members of the law enforcement community.
A member of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department responded back with a list of current initiatives the department has to increase visibility in the streets. They include a youth peer club and a youth diversion program.
No one strayed away from the tough questions. It’s exactly what the organizer and Heal Charlotte co-founder Greg Jackson envisioned for the day.
"A lot of awareness happening about what the issues are with gun violence in the city, but also a lot of solutions," he said.
Panels focused on poverty, community engagement, and better relationships with law enforcement.
“We were wondering if there was any way possible that we could do a gun return program?" said a woman who represents a group of Charlotte moms who have lost their children to gun violence.
Mecklenburg County Sheriff Gary McFadden responded back yes from the stage and explained an event like this is in the works.
“How can I be a part of that?" she asked.
Movements to end gun violence in Charlotte are being echoed across the country and at the federal level; in Washington, Pres. Biden signed the widest-ranging gun violence bill Congress has passed in a decade.
“It does include action that I’ve long called on that is going to save lives," Biden said.
Those in Charlotte say preventing gun violence is more than getting weapons out of people's hands.
"So let's say let's stop playing with guns and put the guns down," McFadden said.
Organizers said the message and today's events are reaching the streets of Charlotte.
"This is a marathon, you have to have endurance to do this, you have to make sure that you're not coming to just say for one day, you got to be dedicated to this," Jackson said.
WCNC Charlotte is committed to reporting on the issues facing the communities we serve. We tell the stories of people working to solve persistent social problems. We examine how problems can be solved or addressed to improve the quality of life and make a positive difference. WCNC Charlotte is seeking solutions for you. Send your tips or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.